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5 Ingredients or LessTapas, known as little bites of Spanish food, translates to “caps.” Turns out, Spaniards, in an effort to keep fruit flies out of their wine, put small plates on top of glasses – caps. An empty plate, well, might be worse than the fruit flies, so they added small amounts of appetizer type foods on top of those plates and the idea of tapas was born. I learned this story in Barcelona last week on a food and wine tour, that became more wine than food, consequently, more fun than filling. What I remember was the compelling story telling and insider perspective from our tour guide Danny and the friends we made for life.

With holidays rolling in, I can think of nothing better than whipping up an array of little bites for your guests. Easy to assemble, room temp service, exotically intriguing, and flavors that explode with a nice wine from Catalan. You’ll see how, but first a gallery to inspire from the famous BarceTickets Bar, created by el Bulli descendants, a meal for which we (bestie Elizabeth & I) waited one hour in line and wrestled a gruff man from England, living up to our pushy American reputation. Ahh but the ham was worth it and always is.

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Let’s talk about these tapas I made inspired by this place in our very own Santa Monica. Simply manchego cheese cubes, quince paste rolled in crushed marcona almonds (available at Whole Foods or gourmet markets), and watercress for a peppery balance to the salty, sweet combination.

Serve with whole almonds, Spanish olives, & cured meat bites (Iberico Ham ideal).


  1. Leslie Howard says Oct 22nd 2012 6:51 pm

    These looks awesome. Can’t wait to try. Marcona almonds are a staple in our house. You can also find them at Costco and they are less expensive and more importanly, less oily than the ones are our Whole Foods. Thanks for the ideas

  2. Sherri says Oct 23rd 2012 7:26 am

    Thanks Leslie. Great tip and who would have thought less oil from Costco – loving it.

  3. Elizabeth says Oct 24th 2012 8:34 pm

    I’m getting hungry all over again! YUM!

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